What Is Racketeering?

There are many types of white-collar crimes from wire fraud to money laundering. Racketeering is an umbrella term for several criminal acts including extortion and more. Keep reading for more information about racketeering and what happens if you break the law.

White Collar Crimes

In general, white-collar crimes refer to financial crimes committed in a corporate or business setting. The term “white collar” refers to the white dress shirts office workers wore during the 19th and 20th centuries compared to the blue work shirts worn by the working class.

As such, these crimes are nonviolent but not victimless. Typically, victims of white-collar crimes are businesses or individuals who may invest or partake in a transaction without the knowledge of any malicious intent or bad faith.

Because white-collar crimes can affect large regional, national, or even international areas, they are typically investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, International Revenue Services, or the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

These crimes include:

  • Wire fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Tax fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Securities fraud
  • Insider trading
  • Identity fraud
  • And more

It’s important to note that these crimes are often part of a larger criminal act. For example, a gang may launder money to erase the paper trail. Additionally, wire fraud and other white-collar crimes are charged per instance meaning each time a fraudulent email is sent, it’s a separate charge. Wire fraud in particular can extend a sentence significantly.


Racketeering is a term that refers to a collection or series of criminal acts. It’s also important to note that racketeering functions within an illegal industry like human trafficking, counterfeiting, or illegal weapons trading. Rackets are often run by a group instead of an individual.

Racketeering can take the form of:

  • Cyber extortion: When hackers push malware onto a person’s computer and demands money to restore access
  • Kidnapping: Taking a person and holding them for ransom
  • Gambling: Some rackets include skimming funds from the top or taking a profit from casinos

This crime falls into the category of “organized crime” which means that it consists of a network or multistep process involving many moving parts. Because of this, the RICO Act or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, strengthens the ability of law enforcement and the legal system to prosecute these cases.

As a part of the RICO Act, conspiracy to commit a crime is very influential in the final verdict. If the prosecution can prove to the court that a group or member of a group conspired to commit racketeering, they could face conspiracy charges regardless of whether they actually committed the crime.


Racketeering can be punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment depending on the circumstances. If the racket involves other entities outside of the state, federal racketeering charges can be brought.

Trustworthy Defense

The Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez has extensive knowledge and experience regarding racketeering and crimes listed in the RICO Act. Our team of legal professionals can investigate the circumstances surrounding your case and determine the most optimal strategy.

Contact our firm today for more information.

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